Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

A record-breaking number of Maine pedestrian accidents in recent years is vexing traffic safety officials.  Maine Public Radio reported pedestrian accident deaths nationally last year were the highest they had been in 30 years. In Maine, officials recorded a 24-year high in 2017. This year is not shaping up to be any safer.

The biggest factor, as noted by numerous traffic safety officials and our own Portland pedestrian accident lawyers, is distraction. Smartphones are the most ubiquitous example, with the average adult spending four hours daily on their phones. A recent comprehensive data analysis by Zendrive reveals distracted driving is 100 times worse than government data reports. These statistics illustrate the real risks when it comes to walking on Maine roads.

Maine Pedestrian Accident Injuries and Deaths Reported Last Three Months

If recent headlines in the Portland Press-Herald and Lewiston Sun-Journal are any indication, it’s unlikely the trend will ease anytime soon. Among those incidents:

  • In April, a 40-year-old woman was struck and killed in a pedestrian accident reportedly caused by a drunk driver on Yarmouth Road. The 58-year-old driver was arrested. Her 11-year-old daughter was also in the vehicle.
  • A few weeks earlier, a 21-year-old woman walking on Franklin Street was struck by a 23-year-old male driver. The Portland pedestrian accident resulted in serious but not life-threatening injuries.
  • In February, a woman was struck and killed in a Turner pedestrian accident involving a truck on Route 4.
  • Also in February, a 36-year-old woman in Lisbon was struck by a box truck while jogging on Route 196. She told police she tried to jump out of the way when the truck veered toward her, but the vehicle nonetheless knocked her to the ground. Although it was early morning, the woman was wearing an illuminated running vest. The 25-year-old driver reportedly did not stop and is facing criminal charges.

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Hit-and-run accidents in Maine (and nationwide) are a rapidly rising concern, highlighted by an alarming new report indicating hit-and-run deaths have a record-high nationally.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that in a single recent year, there were 737,000 total hit-and-run crashes tallied with 2,049 deaths. Both of these figures are the most ever recorded since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began recording in 1975. Hit-and-run crashes account for 12 percent of the total crashes in the U.S., 7 percent of all injuries and 5.5 percent of all car accident deaths.

In Maine, there were a total of seven hit-and-run crashes resulted in death recorded that year. On one hand, that’s one of the lowest figures of fatal hit-and-runs in the country. However, the data is presented in raw numbers, failing to factor in population. Beyond that, those seven crashes amounted to a 75 percent year-over-year increase and the highest reported in the last decade. We had four straight years in that time with zero hit-and-run crash deaths, and the year before that, there one deadly hit-and-run crash.  Continue reading

The death of a 13-year-old boy, struck and killed in a crosswalk on his way to school in Lewiston, has devastated a community and raised important questions about the lack of pedestrian safety in Maine. 

Police say the eighth grader was crossing Main Street at Frye Street – in the crosswalk – when he was struck by a driver operating a Ford F-150 pickup truck. The driver of the vehicle, a 54-year-old woman, is reportedly cooperating with authorities. It is believed that after the initial impact, the truck dragged the young boy some distance up the street until the vehicle stopped and the driver discovered the child underneath. The incident occurred at around 7:10 a.m., as the boy was making his way to school.

According to the Maine Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Highway Safety, Cumberland County – including Portland – had by far the most pedestrian accidents of any county in the state over the last several years. Between 2008 and 2012, there were 408 pedestrian accidents in Cumberland County. Comparatively, there were 205 in York, 167 in Androscoggin, 169 in Penobscot, and 111 in Kennebec. In the last decade, there have been between nine and 14 pedestrian fatalities a year in Maine.

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A driver was recently critically injured following a three-car crash that ended with one vehicle slamming into the front of the Gothic building in downtown Belfast, an hour south of Bangor. 

According to The Bangor Daily News, officers believe an older man in a Sedan with Massachusetts plates was speeding down the hill on Maine Street around 1 p.m. when he suddenly crossed into opposing traffic and slammed into a van at a five-way intersection. He then drove straight into a parked vehicle and then into the front of a building. The parked vehicle was also sent flying up over the curb, just in front of the Bangor Savings Bank.

The occupants of that parked vehicle – which included a toddler in his car seat – were not seriously injured.  Continue reading

It was shortly after 5:30 p.m. when a 74-year-old Bangor man was struck by a tractor-trailer as he crossed the street, headed to an early evening Sunday service in Brewer.

The man suffered critical injuries as a result of the impact, which rendered him unconscious, though he continued to breathe and maintained a heartbeat in the immediate aftermath. Large gashes to his head, knees and elbows were visible to first-responders.

It’s accidents like this that Portland officials are looking to combat with a bid for some $10 million in transportation funding for projects to revamp city streets, intersections and pedestrian pathways. These projects would ideally incorporate smart road designs that would make them safer for everyone who travels in the area.

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As the winter thaw gives way to spring, more pedestrians will be out on the roads in Maine this summer. This means that drivers of cars and other motor vehicles need to start keeping their eyes open for walkers and joggers in order to avoid a potentially disastrous accident.

Our Bangor pedestrian injury attorneys know that there are lots of safe walking areas for pedestrians. However, there are also some dangerous areas where pedestrians could be at higher risk of getting hurt in a crash. In fact, any time drivers and pedestrians are sharing a road together, there is a risk. We urge pedestrians to stay safe and to ensure they are walking only in safe areas and we urge drivers to treat pedestrians with respect on the roads.

Pedestrian Safety Tips
The best safety tip for walkers is that those who are walking for pleasure or for fun should consider doing so on designated trails and off-road areas, far from cars that could present a danger. The MaineDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Program has made it a mission to ensure that pedestrian infrastructure is strong in the state and the Program uses federal funding to facilitate safety initiatives and improve the community environment by building pedestrian projects.

According to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Yearly Report, a number of sidewalks and trails were completed throughout the Bangor area last year in order to improve safety. These include sidewalks on Odlin Road as well as the creation of a new paved pedestrian and bicycle trail near Bath Commercial Street.

Pedestrians who walk on designated trails and designated recreation areas won’t have to worry as much about being hurt by negligent drivers of cars nearby, so those who walk for fun or exercise may wish to review the information from the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program to find safe places to walk.

Pedestrians should also wear bright colored clothing, avoid walking at night whenever possible and never walk when intoxicated, as this can up the risk of a pedestrian accident occurring.

Drivers Help to Keep Pedestrians Safe
While some pedestrians may be able to stay on recreational trails, others are going to need to walk on roads that are shared with cars. In these situations, the drivers of the passenger cars play the biggest role in ensuring the pedestrians are safe.

Drivers of cars should ensure that:

  • They check carefully for pedestrians in designated crosswalks and intersections.
  • They drive at or below the speed limit depending upon weather conditions so they can stop in time if they encounter a pedestrian
  • They exercise extra caution when driving through residential neighborhoods where children might be outside
  • They yield the right-of-way to pedestrians when it is the pedestrian’s turn
  • They refrain from driving while they are distracted or while they are too tired to pay attention
  • They refrain from driving while intoxicated or impaired by either alcohol or drugs

A driver who makes a wrongful or negligent choice when encountering a pedestrian can be held legally liable for any injuries that the pedestrian may suffer in the resulting accident.

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Over the last 10 years, the number of pedestrian deaths across the country has been decreasing ever so slightly, according to The Washington Post. But the increase in 2010 shows that pedestrian accidents remain a stubborn constant, even as the overall number of traffic fatalities has continued to decrease.In 2010, there were approximately 32,890 traffic accident fatalities in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 15 percent of these fatalities, or about 4,500 traffic deaths, were of pedestrians.

That means that a pedestrian was killed in the U. . every two hours and another was injured every eight minutes.

Our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys understand the risks. Unfortunately, many of the streets in the area are designed solely for fast-moving traffic. Pedestrians have to fend for themselves along these roadways. While most fatal pedestrian accidents happen at night, we’re asking all drivers to be on the lookout for walkers at all hours of the day.

The accidents were also most likely to happen when weather conditions were clear. Let’s be honest. There aren’t typically a lot of people strolling the streets when it’s raining or snowing out. That means the fall tourism season in Maine will be among the riskiest time of the year for these types of accidents.

Alcohol was also a common factor in many of these accidents. A driver under the influence accounted for about 15 percent of these fatalities and a walker under the influence was involved in about 35 percent of these fatalities.

More than 50 percent of the 47,000 pedestrians who were killed from 2000 to 2009 were killed along principal or minor arterials. These are the straight, wide roads that are extremely hostile to pedestrians, according to Transportation For America.

The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) is here to offer some safety tips to pedestrians to stay safe out there.

Pedestrian Safety Tips:

-Never assume that a motorist sees you. Many times, fatal pedestrian accidents are the result of drivers simply not seeing pedestrians along our roadways.

-Wear brightly-colored clothing and reflective materials when watching at night.

-Stay out of a driver’s blind spot.

-Never let kids walk by the streets alone.

-Always cross at a crosswalk.

-Make sure that you have enough time to cross the street. If you feel like there’s any chance you’ll have to rush, sit back and wait. There’s no hurry to get across the road. Wait for a sizable gap in traffic, or for the traffic light, before attempting to cross.

-Before crossing, stop, look left, look right, and look left again and then cross.

-Walk in a predictable manner.

-At traffic lights, you always want to wait for the white WALK sign before crossing.

-Plan your walking routes to include safe intersections and large sidewalks.

-Use more that your eyes. Listen to passing traffic to increase your awareness of your surroundings.

-Avoid walking with distractions. Keep the headphones off and the phones away. You want to be able to react to any and all road hazards on the drop of a dime.

-Walk defensively. Don’t assume that motorists know that by law, pedestrians have the right-of-way. Many of them don’t.

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As all of the zombies, ghosts, goblins and mummies head out for some neighborhood trick-or-treating adventures, there’s another scary monster lurking in the dark — child injury in Portland, Maine. It’s true. Halloween is one of the most dangerous times for children to be out and about. Their risks for a pedestrian accident are higher during this time that during any other time of the year.Don’t worry. The South Portland Police Department and our Bangor, Maine, personal injury attorneys are here to share some tips for parents and little monsters to remember while celebrating Halloween.

Parents who are supervising young trick-or-treaters and those who are able to roam the neighborhood alone should always plan their trip before heading door to door. Everyone should plan a route that is safe — one that isn’t along any major roadways, has sidewalks or safe shoulders, is well lighted and has safe crossing areas. Trick-or-treaters of all ages should have a curfew. The later it gets, the more dangers and risks we face for a pedestrian-car accident.

Tips to avoid a pedestrian accident this Halloween:

-Try to you make yourself and your little trick-or-treaters as visible to motorists as possible. You should wear reflective tape on your costume or carry a flashlight.

-Look left and right before and during your trip across a road. Although drivers should be on their best driving behavior, you must take it upon yourself to walk cautiously.

-Never trick-or-treat alone.

-Never go into a stranger’s house or car.

-Suit your child in comfortable shoes and make sure that all costumes are short enough to prevent a trip and fall hazard.

-Do not trick-or-treat at houses with no lights on.

Candy rules:

-Never allow children to snack on candy as their trick-or-treating. Make sure they eat dinner before heading out so they’re less tempted to snack.

-Examine all candy as soon as you get home. Make sure none of the candy has been opened or tampered with. If you see a piece in question, throw it away.

-Consider handing out non-food items like spider rings, bubbles, toothbrushes, etc.

Halloween at home:

-Make sure that all trip hazards are cleared from driveways, sidewalks and front porches.

-Be sure to wipe up any wet surfaces so that trick-or-treaters are less likely to slip and fall.

-Be sure that all lights are on and working proper outside the front of your house.

-Never leave a lighted pumpkin unattended.

We can all have a safe and fun Halloween if we follow these few safety rules. Motorists are urged as always to be cautious in residential areas, especially during dusk on the 31st. Be sure to keep a lookout for monsters on the roadway to prevent a scary car accident. Be safe and have a Happy Halloween!

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The International Walk to School Day started back in 1997 and since then millions of people across the globe have come together to help reduce the risks of pedestrian accidents in Maine and elsewhere each October. In 2002, the largest number of participants was recorded at approximately 3 million for the event.There are many reasons to participate in this year’s events. Walking promotes a healthy lifestyle, it helps to reduce the amount of pollutants let off by motor vehicles and it helps to raise awareness about the need for more accessible sidewalks, pathways and safer intersections.

Our Portland pedestrian accident attorneys understand that pedestrian safety has been a frequent topic of conversation among safety advocates. Back in 2005, legislation was passed to help everyone understand the importance of safe pedestrian travel. Through this legislation and through the Safe Routes to School program, federal funding is distributed to states for safe traveling programs and for the construction of safer roadways. However, none of the contributions mean anything without the cooperation of motorists and pedestrians across the nation. This event helps to gain the cooperation from individuals across the state.

Schools that are participating in this year’s event include:

-Hichborn Middle School

-Troy Central Elementary School

-Monroe Elementary School

-Morse Memorial Elementary School

-Walker Elementary School

-Mt. View Elementary School

-Mt. View Middle School

-My. View High School

-Madison Elementary School

-Atwood Primary School

-Blue Point School

-Brown Elementary School

-RSU 3

-Mount Desert Elementary School

-Mahoney Middle School

Each school is participating in different ways. Some schools are hosting mile long walks/runs during school hours. Others are dropping school bus riders off a mile away from school and having everyone walk to school together. Others have simply applied for some of the federal funding so that students can have safe ways to make it to school.

Approximately 11,500 schools across the county have already received federal funding to help create safer routes to school. Maine is hoping to receive some of this funding during the 2011 campaign. Safe sidewalks and crosswalks could be constructed at a number of our local roadways to help keep our school-aged pedestrians safe. The truth of the matter is that far too little funding is spent on pedestrian safety.

“Enabling and encouraging safe walking and biking to school is important for transportation, health, and safety in communities throughout the State,” said Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) Commissioner David Cole.

The MaineDOTsencourages you join this year’s events to:

-Help to reduce traffic congestion and speed limits near schools and in school zones.

-Help to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing vehicular traffic.

-To help to improve classroom performance and behavior.

-To improve socials networks amongst students and to increase the bond between students and teachers.

-To teach children safe pedestrian and bicycling behavior and habits.

-To help build students’ self-confidence and independence.

-To help reclaim the streets for safer walking and biking instead of for speedy vehicularstraffic.

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On November 9 and 10th, the National Transportation Safety Board hosted a forum to discuss issues relating to highway safety and our aging population. A webcast is archived on the N.T. .B website.

An interview with Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the N.T. .B., was published on November 17th, 2010 in The New York Times blog “The New Old Age”, (see full article here). The forum revealed that recent statistics have surprised researchers. For example, while the number of fatalities has dropped across the board, drivers over 70 have had an even higher drop in the rate of fatal crashes. People are living longer and are also healthier as they age. Ms. Hersman concludes that age alone is not a sufficient factor for determining continuing eligibility to drive, but that states need to consider alternatives such as additional testing or shortened periods before renewal of a license.

Maine considers a driver elderly when he or she is over 65 years of age. The DOT has published resources to assist residents who are dealing with the issue of aging and driving on their website.

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